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Chef who cooked wife told police she was using drugs

September 19, 2012 |  8:59 am

The Lomita restaurant owner who said he cooked his wife for four days after finding her dead one morning also told detectives during an interrogation that she had been using drugs and he suspected her of stealing money from their restaurant.

David Viens has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife, Dawn, who was 39 when she vanished in October 2009. In 2011, after Viens learned investigators suspected that he had played a role in her disappearance, he leaped off an 80-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes — feet first, arms raised, screaming.

On Tuesday, jurors heard two interviews with Viens, 49, that he gave to sheriff’s detectives from his hospital bed.

In one, he explained how he disposed of his wife’s remains by cooking them in a large barrel for four days and dumping some them down a grease pit at their restaurant, Thyme Contemporary Café, on Narbonne Avenue. Other remains were packed into garbage bags and chucked in a Dumpster. He told investigators that his wife’s skull he hid in his mother’s attic, though when they checked the attic they found nothing.

During the interviews, he said the couple had been fighting because he believed she’d been stealing money from their restaurant, and that the night of her death they had used cocaine together and she kept pestering him while he was trying to sleep.

He told detectives in the taped interview that he taped her mouth and bound her hands and feet, something he’d done twice before to keep her from "driving around wasted, whacked out on coke and drinking."

Then Viens fell asleep. When he awoke the next morning, he said, “I panicked.”

"Why — why did you panic?" one of the detectives asked.

"She was hard," Viens said.

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 -- Ashley Powers and Sam Quinones

twitter.com/samquinones7

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